Archive for October 2011

Eczema and food allergy – linked?

The medical evidence, without-a-shadow-of-a-doubt, shows that food allergy and eczema are strongly linked. However, this is the complete opposite to what most dermatologists will tell you. Why is this so? I don’t know.

For example, Kartina says:

“My son’s ex dermatologist clearly hasn’t read anything that’s ever been written! Was told straight up food allergies and eczema have nothing to do with each other. Funny, once we found what he was allergic to and removed it, his eczema is nearly but all gone! His incompetence is why we will NOT be returning to his practice.”

Sadly, at The Children Centre, we hear this sort of comment everyday.  However, it is our experience that most (80%) children with eczema do have food allergy triggers.  Find these troublesome foods and you have found a solution.  Most of the eczema children in our clinic get hugely better when we pay attention to food allergy.

Consequently, we test all children with eczema for food allergy.

Will be writing a whole section on this topic shortly.


5 tests for celiac /gluten /wheat

Wendy says: “My daughter has had 2 negative results for coeliac but still has a major problem with wheat!  Are there other tests for wheat intolerance?”

My reply:
When she says “2 negative results for celiac” I do not understand the problem …  because there are at least 5 different tests for celiac/gluten/wheat problems. And, none can completely rule out a gluten problem: the only way to see if gluten is truly affecting you is to go on a gluten-free diet for a year and see if you get better.  But get your blood tests first.

The 5 tests:

  1. Gluten blood tests: IgG-gliadin
  2. Tissue damage blood tests: tTG, EMA, DGP
  3. Gene test: HLA DQ2/DQ8
  4. Endoscopy: a small bowel biopsy whilst still eating gluten
  5. Skin tests, EAST/RAST: specific IgE tests for wheat allergy.

Each of these tests needs interpretation in the context of your current diet and symptoms.  
We will help you through your gluten/coeliac/wheat testing at the Childrens Clinic | Allergy Centre, Christchurch.


Next-best to breast milk?

We see lots of mothers who are trying to work out when and how to wean their child from the breast onto a baby formula.
They want to know: When? What? Why? 

What milk formula should I give my baby?

We can help you.

What is next-best to breast milk?

The “next-best” alternative to breast milk is “artificial” or “formula” feeding. Formula feeding is not equivalent to breast feeding. A formula is a combination of food components that are manufactured to be as close as possible to the food value of breast milk. These formulas do not have some of the biological advantages of breast milk and will never capture the depth of breast feeding. But they are an excellent choice when weaning – do not go to straight cow’s milk.

What are the special formula choices?

I have written this information up on the Formula menu tag – take a look.


Allergy testing in Christchurch

This query came today:

“I am in Christchurch and my GP says there is no allergy testing available anymore in Christchurch. Is this true?”
Reply: Well, it depends what you mean by allergy testing.
Skin prick testing for allergies:  This is available at Canterbury Health Laboratories (CHL), at the hospital.  Needs a GP referral. Wait time about 6 months I am told.
The private labs (MedLab and Southern Community Lab) are not offering this service now, following earthquake.
We do skin-prick tests at the Childrens Clinic as part of your paediatric consultation (private). 
RAST blood testing for allergies:  This is available at all the labs.  Needs a GP blood request.
We organise RAST tests at the Childrens Clinic if this is indicated.
Waiting times: We can usually see patients within a week or two.

Problem solved – had gastric reflux

This boy, was 4 years old and was very grumpy and irritable, cranky, not eating well, and poor sleep. Mum writes:

“Dr Dr Ford
I am delighted to let you know, that we have a transformed boy in our home!  Our boy positively responded to the Losec within 3-4 days, beginning to happily eat again.

His behaviour and temperament continue to improve each day.  He is no longer sleeping fitfully, he wakes (usually) happy.  

Thank you for your wonderful work.” 


Yes, I was pleased to help.
GORD (Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease) can present in a lot of different ways:

  • Poor eating
  • Grumpy and irritable
  • Poor sleeping – waking crying
  • Hoarse voice. 

If your child is “out of sorts” then think about reflux disease.
We can fully assess your child at the The Childrens Clinic | Allergy Centre, Christchurch.
Getting children healthy again



Reflux / eczema – cow’s milk allergy

Just seen Emily in The Childrens Clinic, Christchurch.   She is one-year-old and had eczema and reflux disease.
However, a few months ago she saw her local pediatrician who said “I don’t believe in reflux!” Also he said “I don’t believe in doing skin prick tests – they are useless!”
But when I first saw Emily it was clear to me that she had cow’s milk allergy. She went dairy-free: her reflux disappeared and her skin cleared up – a great result.
And still, whenever she eats any dairy foods, her eczema flares up again.  She also vomits. Yes, she gets sick with milk.
Diagnosis: How did the diagnosis get made?  We did skin prick tests, she had a positive reaction to milk. She got better off milk.  Simple.
I am perplexed that my colleague remains skeptical about food allergy (for over a decade), this is despite Emily clearly getting completely better when milk was eliminated from her diet. The medical literature shows that between 2-3% (up to 1-in-25) children have food allergy.
It is common.
It is fully documented in the medical literature.
It can be readily diagnosed.
So, why not take this serious disease seriously?
A lot of children would benefit.
Dr Rodney Ford
Paediatrician, The Childrens Clinic | Allergy Centre, Christchurch.
Getting children healthy again